Technical Notes

The Aurora Historical Society obtained the grant for the Let’s Talk Oral History project. This funding allowed the purchase of equipment to undertake the first set of interviews as well as to make the equipment available for future interviews to expand the oral history repository operated (here) by the Aurora Historical Society.

We needed equipment which was simple to operate, reliable, but yet would produce good results.

We also realized that redundancy is a key element to reliably capturing and preserving these interviews.

To that end, we bought a Zoom Q4 video camera (using it in the more close-up position) as well as a Zoom H5 audio recorder. Both of these devices record a stereo sound track. In addition, the H5 records a Rode clip-on lavaliere microphone on the interviewee.

All of the audio is recorded at 24 bits, 48,000 samples per second.

Editing is in Magix Movie Edit Pro 2015.

Storage is on a RAID-6 QNAP TS-453 Pro NAS unit with four Western Digital RED 2 TB drives, providing 4 TB of storage.

Backup is on the internal 3 TB hard drive of the Dell XPS 8700 computer which also has an Intel i7-4790 processor and 32 GB of RAM and a 256 GB solid state drive which is used for the boot drive and the current working project.

The NAS unit connects to the gigabit Ethernet switch with two GB links, and the Dell XPS connects with one, allowing other access to the NAS even if the video work is saturating the GBE link.

We are still evaluating off-site backups.

Addendum 2015-03-09 since this page may see wider circulation as a brief “how to” document.

With 20/20 (6/6) hindsight, we should have purchased two additional lavaliere mics because we know they break (ours did) and having parity between the interviewer and the interviewee would be better. There are two connectors and channels on the Zoom H5 so that is easy to accommodate. The Rode mic performed well after we got it repaired/replaced. Additional microphone cables would be needed as well.

Otherwise, we probably did as well as we could with the budget. It was amazing to see how well Erika and the high school students took to video and editing (and even lighting). Yes, there is room for improvement, but this was the first project for all of them. They did the project proud and captured a lot of very good information. We hope to do more interviews and also include some digitized retrospective material. While the volunteer technical consultant has 40 years of professional media experience, he did not participate in any of the interview or editing sessions. He is helping improve the audio on the composite edited video to make it easier to listen to.